Lost and Found
Tammy wiped her eyes on the torn short sleeves that barely covered her shoulders. The setting of the sun took with it what was left of the thin warm air. She shivered and folded her arms. Lifting one leg front of her, she wondered where she had lost her shoe. The filthy sock, trimmed in pink hearts, ended a scratched and bruised leg. Grandpa bought the shoes for her third birthday only a week ago. She hoped he wouldn’t be mad at her for losing her shoe.
She moved up the mountainside climbing over large rocks to escape more thickets. Cresting the rocks, she slipped and slid down resulting in a skinned leg landing on the edge of a small meadow. Tammy leaned back against the rock locking her jaw. She wasn’t going to cry again. If only she could find the trail from the rest stop.
The shadows give way to darkness as she got up and started wading through the tall grass. There was still some lightness to the sky across the clearing. The other side had a gap that looked clear of trees and bushes; maybe the trail was there, she thought. Tripping and stumbling for what seemed a long time she neared the gap now nearly in total darkness. The trail. She was sure of it.
“Tammy.” The quiet voice came from a faint outline of a man. Tammy started to cry. She couldn’t help it. The tears came out all by themselves. The man picked her up. She stopped crying as warmth flowed Through her.
“Well child,” the man soothed her “you’re fine now.” Tammy nodded and hugged on his neck. The beard was soft. She didn’t feel scared anymore. “I was with Danny, my brother and I got lost.”
“Yes, Tammy I know,” he told her. “Let’s sit on this log till morning. You can wrap up in my robe. It’s warm.” The two of them sat on the log. “Do you know any songs?” he asked.
“I know I’m a Child of God” Tammy responded proudly.
“Oh good,” he said cheerfully, “that’s one of my favorites.” They talked then sang. Before the end of the second chorus, Tammy fell asleep.
A ray of sunshine fell on Tammy’s face. She opened her eyes. Across the meadow, a familiar green checked shirt appeared over the rock she had fallen down last night. She heard him.
“There she is.” He waved behind him. Two uniformed men appeared on the rock behind her father as he reached the ground.
He dashed across the clearing grabbing her up to give her a hug. “We were so worried about you,” her father said.
One of the uniformed men tapped him on the shoulder. “Mr. Talbert, set her down so I can check her.”
“Yes, of course. Tammy sit still so the deputy can look you over,” he instructed.
The deputy smiled at her. “That’s a lovely pair of shoes you have. Those for Church?”
Tammy nodded. “A man helped me,” she said.
He squeezed her shoulder and turned to her father. “Wow, Mr. Talbert, there isn’t a scratch on her. No sign of exposure at all.”
“Look at this Ralph,” the other Deputy called from a few feet away as he stood in the gap.
As Ralph joined him, Tammy heard him whistle. That’s five hundred feet straight down if it’s an inch.”
“Yea, she’s a lucky girl,” the deputy commented.
Tammy’s Papa picked her up. “What man, Honey?”
“The nice man in the long coat. He kept me warm, and we sang songs.”
“Did he say his name, Sweetheart,” her dad asked?
“Yes, I remember,” Tammy looked smug as she told him. His name is Jesus.”